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New Emperor of Japan hosts first state banquet of reign

Emperor Naruhito, alongside his wife Empress Masako, has hosted his first state banquet since he ascended the throne at the beginning of this month.

United States President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are on a four-day state visit to Japan, and the President is the first foreign leader to meet the newly enthroned Emperor.

The black-tie state banquet was held in Tokyo’s Imperial Palace and featured a six-course dinner for the 200 people – including Prime Minister Abe Shinzō. The menu featured “consommé, cote de boeuf and fruit,” according to the Associated Press, and the music was performed by the Imperial Household Orchestra.

Official White House Photo by Andea Hanks

The Emperor and Empress await the Trumps arrival. Official White House Photo by Andea Hanks

Emperor Naruhito gave a toast in Japanese where he praised Japan and the Imperial Family’s relationship with other US presidents and welcomed the Trumps for their second visit to his country during the Donald’s tenure as President of the United States.

“I sincerely hope that, while always taking it to heart that the current Japan-U.S. relations are built upon the sacrifices and dedicated efforts made by so many people, the peoples of our two countries will continue to contribute to peace and prosperity in the world,” he said according to an AP translation.

The President delivered remarks for a toast during the dinner saying in part, “We are pro- profoundly honoured to return to Japan as your nation’s first state guests following the enthronement of His Majesty, the Emperor. Your Majesty, the First Lady and I will never forget this gracious invitation, and we thank the people of Japan for their incredible hospitality and warm welcome in this majestic land.

“This morning, Melania and I had the honour of meeting with Their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress, right here at the Imperial Palace. Two years ago, when we were last in Japan, we also had the privilege of meeting their Majesties, the Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita. We are deeply grateful to the imperial family for their continued friendship.”

The Emperor and President pictured during a toast. Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

The Emperor and Empress also welcomed President and Mrs Trump to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Monday morning.

Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne on 1 May after his father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito – as he is now known – abdicated the previous day. He was the first Japanese emperor to abdicate in over 200 years. With the abdication, the Heisei era came to a conclusion, and the Reiwa era began.

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